Wednesday, April 6, 2011

When Life Gives You Lemons, Try Lemongrass!

Spring has finally arrived so you'll find both sides of
Daisy Mae's Market fully stocked again. When you exit the market house on the Race Street end at Findlay Market, you'll see many of our more exotic and international items on your right (the south side) and the more traditional offerings on your left (the north side). We stock over 100 items including not only fresh produce, but also jams and butters from Yoder's Farm as well as dried fruits and snacks from Windy Acres.
As you explore the expanded fare, you'll surely find a few items that may be new to you. I've recently discovered lemongrass. Lemongrass may look like something your weed-eater missed, but don't be fooled. This herb is popular in Thai and Vietnamese cooking and has been promoted for centuries as a key ingredient in Chinese herbal medicine. Lemongrass is also popular in herbal teas, and many proclaim that it improves digestion, is good for the skin, and may even prevent or cure colds! You may have run across the word "lemongrass" when shopping for lotions, perfumes, or shampoo...Yes, they've actually been able to bottle its powerful aroma.
When using lemongrass for cooking, remove the tough leaves to get at the main, yellow stalk inside. Some people cut the stalks into 2"-3" lengths and then "bruise" them by bending before adding them to soups or curries. By "bruising" the stalks (or slicing superficially), you release the lemon flavor into the dish. (Just be sure to remove the pieces before serving in a soup or sauce.) Others prefer to slice and then crush the lemongrass with a food processor or with mortar and pestle before mixing the ingredient into a special recipe. The extra lemon boost is a great addition to fish, poultry, and stir-fried dishes. 
There's no reason to feel bored with your cooking and "tired of the same old thing." With so many options to choose from, vow to try something new every week. As we always say, "Food is Fun!"  

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